It’s a dreary, rainy Sunday morning and here I sit at my desktop trying to write a draft of a mediation brief that should have been completed a week ago. I left the house half an hour ago with my toddler clinging around my neck, begging me not to go, and my infant staring at me and silently judging (I’m sure of this), “what kind of mother leaves her children at home on a Sunday, especially when we can’t even get out to play!” (critical gaze turns to scowl). Looking at the clock, I have just wasted .3, logging on to this blog, memorializing the bleak landscape of my desk in a photograph, and typing not the brief, but this post. I suppose I can’t bill for this – well, at least not ethically, and probably not legally. “Minus point three.”
I really should get cracking, but my mind turns to my never-ending dilemma: should I keep working part-time, go back to full-time or just quit the law game completely?
“Part-time” seems to mean you’re part lawyer, part mom, but never whole of either.
Your colleagues at work – mine all happen to be male – say they admire your ability to juggle both, but they are really thinking: “When is she going to quit?” and “Can I really count on her?“.
Your children know that you’re not there everyday when they want you to be. When you are with them, you have to resort (sometimes for hours) to the television babysitter so you can hastily take care of a filing or send a flurry of urgent e-mails.
And, your constantly plagued heart wishes you didn’t have to be split in two.
It’s especially hard when you’re A-type (well at least about work!) and you can’t stomach churning out anything less than stellar work product. It isn’t just your professional reputation at stake, but your own sense of self-worth.
Growing up in a household where the response to an A on a test was “where’s the ‘plus’?“, not being on top of my game kills me. But motherhood has thrown me for a loop: do I want to spend every last fiber in my body obtaining a multi-million dollar victory for our client . . . or . . . do I want to take my toddler puddle-jumping on this beautifully rainy day?
“As I sit here today,” I cannot make this either/or decision. I want both. (I think). But as far as my experience informs me, both is not possible. And I have yet to meet a mom who has told me otherwise.
So here I sit, .7 in the hole, in the middle of my working mom dilemma. Babies waiting for me. Client waiting for the brief. (Husband not waiting for anything from me, as he has given up on expecting anything after two years of patiently waiting for my sanity to make its encore appearance). And me, waiting for some kind of final judgment.
Update: much to my pleasant surprise, Hubby showed up with Jane and Sam at my “ofsup”!
I did get to take Jane puddle-jumping.
Today’s Verdict: Affirmed; I need to stay at home with my babies.